Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chickens & Goats & Dogs & Cats.... That's what little farm girls are made of!

Our new birds, Polish - crazy hair! Rhode Island Reds, Black Australorps & Araucana's
Lots of beautiful babies - 6 weeks old and almost ready to come home!
They are shown here eating grubs and bugs in Glenn's hen house
As my husband walks around singing "Life is but a dream, sweatheart, sweatheart" Yes, sweat not sweet. We both do our share of sweating out here, Len building, me baking and cleaning and gardening. On Friday after the farmer's market we drove to pick up our new baby birds. They are four different breeds of heritage birds - meaning not genetically modified by science for high production. We expect 3 of the 4 breeds to be good layers and the other 3 diva's will lay but I added them since they are so gorgeous and I have admired them for so long. Who wouldn't want a bird that looks like she just got her hair done? Makes up for me not getting to the hair dresser!

We had a great tour of the farm where the birds were raised. A woman brings in heritage animals and pays the fees, takes the losses and will raise them for us to a month old so we can pick them up all ready to come home at the point they need a little less care. We do plan to breed in the future so we have 3 roosters who need to play nice in the barnyard. They can each select a decent size harem of 12 girls to keep them busy and everyone should get along. There were so many other birds that I would have loved to bring home, frizzles, silkies, guinea's (apparently a great "guard" bird!) and so much more. 

We were able to see her flock of goats, different types, size and age, ducks, donkey's, cows, rabbits, pheasants and quail. It was truly amazing and lots of work! This was definitely a working, breeding, raising farm and each year she takes a wide selection of birds to the FREDEX (Fredericton Exhibition) to display and educate. It is good I didn't have any more money with me or we would have brought home some ducks and another Polish bird. The Polish were a last minute purchase. We had ordered 11 hens each of the Araucana's, Rhode Island Reds and Black Australorps as well as 1 rooster of each. When we were there though, I just had to take home some Polish, I mean, we have to be welcoming and multicultural right? Right!
One of our Polish girls hiding her face
(hair was done, but makeup wasn't quite right!)
Since we/Len, isn't quite done building the barn, my hero "Glenn" let us put the girls into his hen house for a week or so until we are ready. Len assures me that if all goes well by the end of next week we can bring them home and they will be secure. That means also picking up the dog, Luki and our goats. So it will be a busy time!

Last night we went to "meet" our new goats. Now Mother Earth News tells me we need to check them out carefully for health reasons. So, prior to heading out, I researched their advice. On the ten minute drive, I gave Len the run down on what HE had to do. The "article" said we needed to check their teeth, make sure the bottom matched up nicely with the top gums (right! Gums, not teeth, apparently goats ONLY have bottom teeth, who knew, eh?) I did insist that he check both goats teeth, so Keith held the mouths open and Len viewed the placement of the teeth. Not being an orthodontist we just assumed since they looked fairly well aligned and the goat was eating well, it shouldn't be a problem. (The goats are eating so well that MaryEllen has no flowers left in her garden, hence the sense of urgency in removing them from their property.)
This is not one of the goats but it is a very
similar picture to give an idea of what
they will look like. Of course I forgot my
camera this time! Pictures to come...

We/He also had to cop a feel and grope the goats udders and teats. Now the female yearling doesn't actually have any udders yet since she has not given birth, this meant simply feeling her teats. Well, Keith held her still and Len grabbed under (we figured he was most qualified at groping teats, so I let him do it.) He asked, what do I feel for? I said, Pretend you are doing a breast exam, feel anything hard or lumpy? Nope, she's good! Having checked the female, I now wanted him to check the buck/male. No, buck's don't have udders but they do have small teats. Which of course are located near the scrotum. Len was hesitant about this plan but I was pretty insistent, that is until we all glanced over at the buck. Oh, he was a happy little buck! (We could see that based on certain parts of his anatomy that were now extended! Apparently, groping feels good to all male breeds and he was excited with anticipation!) This is not why Len chose not to proceed, but we all decided that due to the fact that the dog, was helping the buck feel good with his mouth, that we would forgo the conclusion that this was one healthy male. No need for Len to assist the goat in reaching a happy ending! We did agree to purchase "Jack" and "Freya" and should get them in about a week. We hope to have the "nanny" "kidding" by spring and the "billy" will go back to girl goats instead of overly friendly dogs. Life on the farm!

Len is back outside today working on the barn. He usually takes Sunday as a quiet day, no building but he has not been able to accomplish much this week since he had several signs to make. Glenn came by yesterday to help Len get started on the roof and things are really moving along now. Since Glenn has numerous cats in his barnyard we will grab one or two to help keep the mice and other creatures down. I am now already thinking ahead to what other animals we can get! I never knew I could be so excited about barnyard animals! (I am NOT as excited as the goat, but I am pretty happy.)

Yesterday was an amazing day in the coffee shop. I had a record setting day and sold out of everything. That is great, but means more work for me today! I am working on websites between my housework and coffee shop and have a few new ones in production. It is a good life! I do miss my girls who are still in BC. I think they have been too busy to miss me. Life is quieter without hearing the  words "MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!" and I am sure that by the end of the summer I will either be helping any child who says "MOM!" or forgetting I have children altogether! (Not really, I know they still need my wallet, cooking and hugs!)

I know reading this and hearing about my adventures still puts my parents and brothers into shock and awe since I was NOT a good farm girl at 13. I did NOT want to help, I did NOT like the smells, I did NOT want to eat the food after butchering and I was pretty much a miserable whiny girl! I guess I have learned more about what is important in life and put some of the less important things aside. I think knowing that I changed, also shows hope for my teen who is NOT very excited about all of this. I don't expect that she will ever choose to live on a small farm and be self-sufficient, but she will know that it can be done and in the future, when she brings her friends or husband and they laugh at me and my "quaint" ways... she will also appreciate that her mom has wide variety of skills and is a survivor.

On that note, it is time to punch down dough to finish making my sticky buns and clean up the dishes. Soon church will be out and the Sunday sleep in will be over and people will start to meander in. I have an add I am considering to help sell my product, what do you think? "Come on in and feel my sticky buns!" Have a good one!

1 comment:

.........Sarah Sherman said...

From Chris S: I’ve been reading your blog. You are an amazing writer and it is always so interesting.

From Me: thanks Chris! :)